Thursday, July 31, 2008

El Cajon Police Search for Missing 21-Year-old

Police in El Cajon are investigating the disappearance of a 21-year-old woman, who went missing sometime between late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

According to authorities, Frances Jean Agan was reported missing approximately 1:30 a.m. from a home in El Cajon. She was reportedly last seen going to bed at approximately 11 p.m. Police say her purse, cell phone and other personal items were in the room she disappeared from. A window screen in her room had reportedly been cut.

The woman's boyfriend, Maynard Whitfield, 20, is someone police would like to speak with.

Agan's car is also missing, a 2000 Ford Range white pickup, with California license# 6h03939.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (619) 579-3311.

Garamendi to Run for Governor in 2010

Former California Insurance Commissioner and current Lt. Gov. John Garamendi announced Thursday morning that he will run for the state's governor post in 2010. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the second of his two terms.

Garamendi, a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for the governor's post in 1982 and 1994. He also lost the 1986 primary for controller to future governor Gray Davis.

Garamendi became the state's first elected insurance commissioner in 1990, a post he held for one term.

UPDATE: Man Arrested for Mistreating Dogs

In an update to a story we told you about on Tuesday, police have arrested a Boulder Creek dog breeder who was wanted for reportedly mistreating dozen of dogs on his property in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Police reported today that they arrested Robert Brunette, 45. He is suspected of crimes against animals.

A number of dogs were discovered dead on his property, while others were being left without proper living conditions. See ( for the original story.

Delta Passenger Died of Heart Abnormality

A California woman, whose body was discovered in the bathroom of a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta on Wednesday, died of a heart abnormality, according to medical examiners in Georgia.

Michaele O'Neil Carnahan of Ventura reportedly had a pre-existing condition. Her body was discovered in Flight 950's bathroom shortly before the plane was to land at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Solano State Prison Inmates to Receive Condoms

One group of prisoners will now have an opportunity to practice safe sex while in jail.

A new pilot program that offers free condoms for prison inmates is nearing completion. The Solano State Prison in Vacaville is installing 10 condom distribution machines to be filled with 1,200 condoms a week. The idea according to prison officials is that the condoms will minimize the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among inmates.

Technically, it is against the law for inmates to have sex, and state officials said that won't change. Just now, those who do take the chance will be a little more protected.

And the best thing of all, officials say no taxpayer money will be used for the program.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jailhouse Error Leads to Wanted Man

Police continue to search for a San Francisco man who should not have been released from jail.

According to authorities, Alfredo Guadalupe Ortiz, 28, who was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, was accidentally released from San Mateo County jail due to a clerical gaffe.

The defendant reportedly failed to appear at a court hearing on Monday. He had been convicted last week of domestic violence, and could have gotten nine years in jail.

The court ordered Ortiz be held without bail, but a sheriff's employee at the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City noted Ortiz's bail at $25,000 instead of no bail.

Ortiz's family reportedly posted the bail and he was released late Friday evening.

SoCal Teen Pleads Guilty to Rape of 15-Year-Old

Authorities announced on Tuesday that one of two teenage boys accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl found unconscious in a San Fernando Valley park in May has pled guilty to a pair of felony rape counts.

The 15-year-old boy admitted to raping the girl by use of drugs and rape of an unconscious person. He was sentenced to six months at a state youth authority camp, with three felony counts dismissed in the case.

The other individual, a 16-year-old boy, pled guilty in June to a sexual battery charge and will be sentenced in August.

According to authorities, the girl was reportedly drinking with friends and was discovered passed out in a men's bathroom at a Chatsworth park. Two other female teens were also found passed out, but were not assaulted.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Binge Drinking Factors Into San Diego Rapes

Police in San Diego are looking into what they say isan increased number of rapes involving young women who take part in binge drinking and leave themselves vulnerable to men.

While others crimes in the city have decreased, police say attacks on women who have had too much to drink is one element as to why rapes have increased.

The number of rapes increased by 38 percent during the first six months of 2008 in comparison with the same period last year, from 129 to 178, according to recent crime statistics.

Women also apparently know their attacker in many cases. Stranger rapes are reportedly less than 10 percent of the attacks against women.

Restaurant Fire Causes More than $1M in Damages

A San Diego area restaurant suffered more than $1 million in damage this morning as the result of a fire.

Sammy's California Woodfired Pizza in Carlsbad burned extensively, but no injuries were reported. The two-alarm blaze, which involved some four dozen firefighters, reportedly began before 8 a.m. in the back of the kitchen.

CHP issued a traffic alert when flames spread to brush near the southbound I-5 offramp to Palomar Airport Road.

Dozens of Dead Dogs Discovered at Remote Home

Authorities continue to investigate a horrific scene discovered Monday at a remote home in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Animal control officers found countless dead and sick dogs on a Boulder Creek property they responded to. Authorities said they received a tip from a nearby resident that animals were not being properly cared for.

Authorities report that a number of the dogs had been decapitated, while one dog's head was suspended from a tree.

Other dogs and puppies were discovered living among their own feces and at least one dog was found in its own waste in the cab of a truck. In all, more than three dozen dogs and puppies were rescued from the scene.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for the owner of the home, who reportedly ran from the scene when officers arrived.

UPDATE: 5.4 Earthquake Hits E-SE of Los Angeles

An earthquake recorded at 5.4 magnitude shook Southern California this morning, startling residents from Los Angeles to San Diego.

There were no reports of injuries or immediate damages, although several buildings in Los Angeles reportedly swayed for a few seconds.

Preliminary reports from the U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, which hit at 11:42 a.m., was centered 29 miles east-southeast of downtown Los Angeles near Chino Hills in San Bernardino County.

Gay Marraige Backers Applaud Brown's Move

The language involving the Prop 8 ballot for this fall has changed, leading to the filing of a lawsuit by prop supporters.

Attorney General Jerry Brown, who may have changed the wording in an effort to bring in more of the gay vote should he run for governor again in 2010, reworded the language of Prop 8, the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage if a majority of voters cast a "yes" ballot.

The new language now states that Prop 8 would "eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry." Prop 8 supporters, who planned on filing a lawsuit to stop the wording change, said the new wording could "prejudice voters against the initiative."

Brown, however, said the change was needed to show the legalization of gay marriage prior to the November ballot.

When the proposition was submitted to the state, same-sex marriage was not yet allowed and was to be determined by the California Supreme Court justices, therefore the wording made sense. Now that it is legal, the wording had to be changed, according to Brown and supporters of gay marriage.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Authorities Make Quite a Haul off San Diego

Three Mexican citizens were placed in federal custody over the weekend after the boat they were riding on was stopped some 12 miles off of Point Loma by the U.S. Coast Guard early Saturday morning.

According to authorities, the 25-foot open boat, which was discovered running without lights, contained more than 1,000 pounds of pot. The boat was towed into San Diego Harbor and impounded.

Authorities did not releases the men's names and did not say if they would be charged or deported.

Cuil Looks to Rival Google in Search Engine Wars

Search engine giant and Mountain View-based Google has a new player in the computer information world to keep it occupied.

Several former Google engineers have developed a new search tool in hopes of being the most comprehensive and effective way to surf the Internet. Former employee Anna Patterson, along with several other former Google alumni, hope this invention, which is not for sale, will give Google more than just a run for its money.

The tool is Cuil, pronounced "cool." Supported by $33 million in venture capital, the search engine planned to begin processing requests for the first time Monday.

Cuil's search index spans 120 billion Web pages and Cuil inventors won't give out the formula they have developed to cover a wider swath of the Web with far less computers than Google.

Google, while acknowledging the new player on the block, may not be losing too much sleep at night. As of May, Goggle commanded a whopping 62 percent share of the U.S. search market followed by Yahoo at 21 percent and Microsoft at 8.5 percent, according to comScore Inc.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

EDITOR'S TAKE: Need facts in Hirschfield Shooting

The shooting death last week of Steven Paul Hirschfield, 37, by San Diego Harbor Police was tragic. But before we start targeting the two officers for the shooting, how about we wait until all the facts come in?

Hirschfield was reportedly dancing on a chartered cruise ship during Gay Pride Day in San Diego last Saturday when he fell into the water. He was reportedly pulled out of the water by San Diego Harbor Police.

According to the police, a struggle between Hirschfield and one of the officers ensued. Hirschfield allegedly hit the officer in the face with his stun gun, before being shot to death by the other officer on the boat.

At a recent news conference, Hirschfield's attorney, Brian Claypool, claimed the police's version of what happened is "preposterous." Claypool said it does not fit with what kind of person Hirschfield was. Claypool even went as far as to question whether the officer's views on gay men impacted what happened on the police boat. Hirschfield's parents reportedly did not say whether or not their son was gay.

Here is where we have some issues with this case.

1. The attorney is saying police may have had a bias against gay men. 2. Hirschfield was performing on a boat whose passengers were primarily gay men. 3. Hirschfield's parents would not comment on whether or not their son was gay.

Assuming Hirschfield was gay, that's not a problem. There are a couple of problems, however.

Hirschfield's attorney is throwing some gasoline on the fire by saying the officers involved may have had a bias against gays. His parents also do not want to admit that their son was likely gay.

If he was gay, why not just admit it? And until you have clear proof that the two officers involved had a bias against gays, don't stroke the fire by claiming they may have. It is not only dangerous, it is unprofessional.

It is highly unlikely that two police officers would risk their careers and the safety of others and shoot a man out of the blue. Let the facts come in and then we'll judge the two officers involved. Judging them in the court of public opinion is unfair and more importantly, dangerous.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Police Continue to Investigate Woman's Death

Police continue their investigation into the death of Michelle Dickson, 23, of Crescent City.

An autopsy was planned today for Dickson, whose body was discovered last week in Oregon. The missing woman's body was discovered Wednesday night beneath a bridge in Brookings, Ore.

Dickson, who police believe was murdered, had been missing since July 15, when she allegedly met a man in a possible drug transaction.

Police arrested Josiah Miller, 27, after investigators reported they discovered traces of blood in his car. The Arctata resident was labeled as an acquaintance of the missing woman.

Illegals Discovered in Tank Truck Smuggling

Authorities reported that approximately 50 people were rounded up and taken into custody after agents working the border between San Diego and Mexico found illegal immigrants hiding out inside the tank of a stolen water truck.

Border patrol agents discovered the illegals on Friday after the truck was stopped in a location known as Smuggler's Gulch.

The truck's driver was arrested after trying to escape the area.

Friday, July 25, 2008

San Diego Half Marathon Registration Closed

Registration for the 31st Annual AFC Half Marathon in San Diego has officially closed.

The 5K event, however, is still taking applicants. There are only 10 exclusive registrations offered only to athletes who commit to raise at least $1,000 for the Habitat for Humanity San Diego.

The Half Marathon and 5K take place on Sunday, Aug. 17 in America's Finest City. The Half Marathon starts at historic Cabrillo National Monument, with its majestic view of both San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, follows scenic San Diego Bay and Harbor Island along the Embarcadero to The Star of India, winds through downtown San Diego, and ends in Balboa Park. The race starts at 7 a.m. The 5K Run/Walk will kick off at 6:45 a.m.

All participants will receive a special technical fabric t-shirt. There is a two-day AFC Fitness Expo at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, 1380 Harbor Island Drive (Fri, Aug. 15 - noon to 7 p.m. & Sat, Aug. 16 -10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). T-shirts are available for pickup after the race in Balboa Park.

For further information, visit

Woman Who Tried to Drown Baby Son Sentenced

A San Diego woman who tried to drown her seven-month-old son back in 2006 was sentenced today to seven years in state prison. The woman had also attempted to fatally stab the father of the infant.

Maria Danielle Preshaw, 21, who pleaded guilty last month to attempted murder, was determined to be mentally incompetent to stand trial last year and was sent to Patton State Hospital.

Back in January of this year, Preshaw was determined to be competent and was returned to San Diego to face a pair of counts of attempted murder and one count of felony child abuse.

The second attempted murder charge and the child abuse count were removed as a result of the defendant's change of plea.

The toddler suffered no long-term injuries from the attempted drowning.

Arson Strikes School for Second Time This Year

Authorities are looking for answers as to why a school for students with disabilities was hit by fire for the second time in six months.

Wednesday night's blaze at the school in Gilroy is being reported as arson, according to investigators. Early in the evening, a fire started in the Gateway Special Education School's main complex, resulting in damage to the building.

Another fire struck the same complex earlier this year. Authorities have not said if they believe the same person is responsible for both fires.

Naked Men Lured to Hotel, Robbed of Money

Talk about getting caught with your pants down.

Three naked men at a Calimesa motel told Riverside County sheriff's deputies they were robbed after going to a room to party with some women they had met.

The men said they met the women in a Yucaipa park and the six went to the motel. After stripping down to their birthday suits, the men said four men entered the room and took about $80 from them before fleeing.

One of the naked men reportedly ran from the scene, leading to people calling 911 about a nude man spotted in the vicinity. Authorities then received word of a robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, leading them to the motel.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hardy Reportedly Surfaces with Positive Test

Were the U.S. Olympic swim team's hopes for next month seriously impacted Thursday?

Reports say breaststroker and Long Beach resident Jessica Hardy has tested positive for a banned substance. Although the substance was not named, the reports say she could miss the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

A former world record holder in the 100m, Hardy reportedly tested positive with her A sample and back-up B sample from the recent U.S. Olympic trials. Hardy left the team's training camp in Palo Alto to return home.

Hardy figured to be a medal threat in the 100-meter breaststroke, along with being key to the U.S. team's 400-meter free relay squad.

A first-time doping offense usually means a two-year competitive ban. Hardy, however, could make appeals to the American Arbitration Association and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Will San Diego Union-Tribune Be Sold?

Will San Diego's best-known newspaper be sold?

The parent company of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Copley Press Inc., is retaining an investment-banking firm to see about a potential sale. Copley recently unloaded its newswire arm and smaller publications in the Midwest over the last year-and-a-half.

A company executive said the downturn in the San Diego real estate market has impacted advertising sales. Many newspapers are also feeling the pinch of the Internet, as more people turn there to get their news.

The UT is the 21st largest daily in the country, with more than 1,000 employees.

Cal Tree-Sitters, Campus Extend Limbs of Progress

Progress has reportedly been made between several people sitting in trees on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley and campus authorities.

The protestors have been up in arms over a plan to remove several trees on campus to make way for the construction of a new sports center.

The agreement states that the protestors will remove a line that was formed along Piedmont Avenue to the trees Wednesday morning in order to move bags of food to the tree-sitters. The tree-sitters will also leave a new tree that they took over earlier Wednesday. Those occupying the trees will also reportedly lower all the human waste they have been compiling and keep lowering it on a daily basis.

In what is a long agreement, the backers of the tree-sitters will halt attempts to re-supply them with food or storm the barricades the university placed around the trees, he said. In return, supporters gain approval on a daily basis to send up a bag of food that has been searched by university officials.
University officials also agreed to give a 72-hour notice if they intend to either end the agreement or use force to remove the tree-sitters.

A UC Board of Regents committee approved building the sports training center in December of 2006. Earlier this week, a 2007 preliminary injunction that had temporarily halted the construction of the sports center was lifted.

A spokesman for UC Berkeley said a deal was reached Wednesday between university police and protestors on the building of a new sports center.

Teach Pleads Guilty to Sex with 17-Year-Old

A former teacher and girls' soccer coach at San Diego's Helix High School entered a guilty plea today to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old female student in a hotel room earlier this year. With that plea, the defendant avoided a jury trial.

Garry Wilcox, 44, who had taught at the school for 13 years, will be sentenced next month. He could receive probation and up to a year in jail.

As part of the plea agreement, Wilcox avoided a charge of attending and arranging an elicit meeting with a minor. Wilcox is to have no contact with the student, now 18, or with any other students on campus. The victim was also ordered to stay away from Wilcox.

Over the last year, two other Helix High teachers have also been charged with having sex with students.

Family of Dead Man to Sue San Diego Harbor Police

The family of a man who was fatally shot by San Diego Harbor Police last weekend will reportedly sue the department.

The family of Steven Paul Hirschfield will file the suit, claiming negligence on the part of the department. Hirschfield died late Saturday night after being pulled out of San Diego Bay while in town to celebrate Gay Pride Day. He had reportedly fallen off of a party boat.

After being rescued from the water, Hirschfield, 37, allegedly began to fight with one of the two officers and hit the officer in the face with his stun gun. The other officer then reportedly shot Hirschfield one time. He died at the scene.

The officer who was initially involved in the reported struggle with Hirschfield suffered leg and face injuries and was hospitalized overnight.

Gov. to Cut Pay of More than 200,000 Workers

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly plans next week to slash the pay of more than 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum of $6.55 per hour in a move he hopes will lessen the state's budget crisis.

The governor is also reportedly slated to end overtime pay for all but critical services, place a freeze on state hiring, and call for the immediate layoff of nearly 22,000 temporary, seasonal and student workers.

The layoffs could be done immediately, but the pay cuts would likely not be effective until later next month.

California faces a projected $17.2 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year that commenced July 1, and has not yet approved a budget.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Search Continues for Missing Crescent City Female

Authorities reported that blood was found in the truck of a 'person of interest' in the search for missing 24-year-old Michelle Dickson.

According to police, results back from the lab indicate trace evidence of blood discovered in the truck of Arcata resident Josiah Miller, which police seized recently. Police did not say whether or not the blood belongs to Dickson, and Miller has not been arrested.

Dickson, whose car was found burned a few miles from where she went missing, disappeared late last Tuesday after reportedly meeting a man in the Crescent Beach area. There are some allegations that she may have been there to sell drugs, possibly to Miller.

Crescent City is approximately 20 miles south of the Oregon border.

Did John Edwards Cheat on Wife?

John Edwards, who ran as the vice presidential candidate on the ticket with Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry four years ago, and earlier this year ran for the Democratic nomination, apparently has a little explaining to do.

Reports say Edwards, whose wife, Elizabeth, is battling breast cancer, was season leaving the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills early Tuesday morning following a latenight 'meeting' with alleged mistress Rielle Hunter (pictured). The two allegedly had a child together too.

Hunter, who at one time worked on Edwards' campaign, came to light back in the fall of 2007 when a story ran in the National Enquirer about the two. Hunter denounced the story, claiming it was untrue. Hunter also reportedly lived in a North Carolina home that was owned by a backer of Edwards.

After being cornered by a reporter at the hotel, Edwards reportedly waited on hotel security to escort him out.

Ramona Residents Told to Boil Water

Ramona residents were asked to boil their water today by San Diego County health officials.

This came after tests showed the Rancho Santa Teresa Mutual Water Co. had a presence of total coliform bacteria in the city's water system.

Officials indicated the boil water order would stay in effect until the distribution system has been disinfected and further tests show the absence of bacteria in the water supply.

Police Dog's Death Resulted from Heatstroke

A San Diego police dog found in the back of his handler's police vehicle last month died as a result of heatstroke, according to county investigators.

The Department of Animal Services said that the 5-year-old dog died after he was left in the car in temperatures over 100 degrees and with the windows rolled up.

Officer Paul Hubka, who is currently serving desk duty, reported that he discovered his dog in the car which was parked in his driveway in Alpine. Although the exact time is not known, authorities say the dog could have been left in the vehicle for at least seven hours.

The Police Department is reportedly awaiting for prosecutors to finish their investigation before conducting their own administrative investigation.

Comic-Con International Kicks off Thursday

Comic-Con International will kick off tomorrow at the San Diego Convention Center and you had better have a ticket to get in. The four-day event sold out recently.

A handful of comic book enthusiasts will get a sneak peek Wednesday night at the Comic-Con International Convention before tomorrow's official opening The preview night festivities include a screening of the new television series “Fringe.” that is set to air this September on FOX.

Comic-Con is advertised as the largest gathering of its kind, hosting thousands of animation, science fiction and pop-culture enthusiasts from around the country to America's Finest City.

The convention features celebrity appearances, many exhibits, seminars, art shows, gaming, autograph-signing sessions, film screenings, a masquerade party and more. Hollywood celebs like Mark Wahlberg, Keanu Reeves, Kiefer Sutherland and Jennifer Connelly are expected to attend.

For further information, visit .

Sign of the Times? Layoffs Hit San Diego Casino

Officials at Pechanga Resort and Casino in the San Diego area say they will layoff approximately 400 employees in the near future.

The Temecula casino, which employs around 4,800 people, will mark the first time in the company's 13-year history that it will let people go.

With a tightened economy, attendance at a number of casinos has reportedly declined in recent months.

Teen Sues School; Seeks More Than $75K

A San Diego area teen is suing Mount Miguel High School for more than $75,000, claiming she suffered pain and humiliation after her choir teacher allegedly called her names and more.

Jade Ray filed the lawsuit seeking damages against teacher Heather Hargett and the Grossmont Union High School District earlier this month.

In the suit, Ray claims that on Valentine's Day Hargett chose several students to deliver singing grams on campus and "intentionally excluded" Ray.

The teacher allegedly told Ray when she asked why she was excluded that she "looked bad" and did not have a choir T-shirt. After Ray reportedly asked about the $15 cost of the required T-shirt, Hargett allegedly told her to get out of class. When Ray reportedly would not leave, the teacher allegedly called Ray a "brat" and "ugly" and kicked her on the buttocks.

The Grossmont Union High School District said in a statement that it has followed through with appropriate action to address the allegations.

Ray's attorney claims he offered to settle with the school for $75,000, but they declined. He is now seeking a jury trial.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Drug Deal Involved in Missing Woman Case?

A woman who went missing last Tuesday may have been harmed after a possible drug deal involving marijuana went bad.

While authorities will not confirm this, reports say Michelle Dickson, 24, may have met a man as part of a drug deal last Tuesday evening at a beach in the Crescent City area.

Dickson's car was found burned at another location by the beach last Wednesday, and the woman has been missing for a week now. Crescent City is situated about 20 miles south of the Oregon border.

Police have been tight lipped about a search conducted at the home of an Arcata man's residence in relation to the investigation. Authorities reportedly confiscated the man's vehicle, some clothing and his computer.

Dickson, who is 5' 4", 120 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, was reportedly wearing either a white or dark-colored sweat shirt and white or blue-colored sweat pants.

Police ask anyone who may be able to help in this investigation to call the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office at (707) 464-4191.

Los Angeles to Bag Plastic in Stores in July 2010

Get ready to say goodbye to plastic bags at your local supermarket.

The Los Angeles City Council voted today to prohibit plastic shopping bags from stores, beginning July 1, 2010. Shoppers can either bring their own bags or pay 25 cents for a paper bag.

The council's unanimous vote could eventually lead to a state measure. California is considering an Assembly bill that would prohibit plastic bags in 2012 and force shoppers to pay at least 15 cents per paper bag.

In 2007, San Francisco gave approval to the nation's first bag ban, which took effect in November.

Autopsy of Darrow Fails to Find Cause of Death

An autopsy performed on a San Diego teen who was found floating in the San Luis Rey River over the weekend failed to determine a cause of death.

The body of Jaymie Rose Darrow, 19, of Poway was discovered late Saturday in a campground on the La Jolla Indian Reservation. The UC Santa Barbara student had been in the area with friends.

Reports say toxicology results will take a few weeks.

Attorney Nabbed in Sting Involving Reported Girl

A Westside attorney charged with attempted lewd acts on a child and other crimes after he allegedly exchanged Internet messages with someone he believed was a 13-year-old girl was arrested by the FBI in connection with a case filed last week by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division.

David A. Cohn, 50 (dob 7-11-1958), was arrested without incident at his Woodland Hills home, authorities said. He was booked into Van Nuys jail and released after posting $190,000 bail.

Cohn, with a West Hollywood area law firm, will be arraigned in Los Angeles Superior Court Department 30 in the downtown Criminal Justice Center. A date for his arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz filed the felony complaint for arrest warrant (BA 343414) against Cohn on July 15. The attorney is charged with four felony counts and one misdemeanor that, if convicted, could lead to imposition of a six-year, six-month maximum state prison term.

The complaint alleged the bulk of the crimes occurred between July 17 and July 31, 2007, when the defendant allegedly was exchanging messages on the Internet. Although he thought the person with whom he was chatting was 13, authorities said, it actually was an FBI agent who is part of the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Team.

The felony count alleging possession of matter depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct occurred on Aug. 3, 2007, according to the complaint. That was a few days after investigators executed search warrants and seized evidence from the defendant’s home and office.

Civil Suit Filed in Death of La Jolla Pro Surfer

A civil lawsuit was filed against five men Tuesday in San Diego by the mother of a pro surfer who allegedly died as a result of an altercation he had with the men back in May of 2007.

The mother of Emery Kauanui filed the wrongful death suit, alleging that Seth Cravens, Orlando Osuna, Matthew Yanke, Eric House, Henri Hendricks, plus the men's parents, are responsible for Kauanui's death.

Attorneys for Cindy Kauanui filing the suit allege that the parents failed to act on signals that their children had turned to violence.

The civil suit also names Barkandbrew Inc., the company that owns the La Jolla Brewhouse. Kauanui and House reportedly got into an argument there hours before the beating. The suit alleges that the Brewhouse provided alcohol to the young men even though they were drunk at the time.

The defendants allegedly went to Kauanui's mother's home later that night and confronted Kauanui. An altercation took place outside, with Kauanui suffering grave injuries. He died four days later at a local hospital.

Four of the five defendants accepted plea deals for their reported roles in the fight. The fifth, Seth Cravens, will go on trial later this year on murder and other charges stemming for the incident.

Baby Left in Trash Can; Police Seek Parents

Police are searching for the parents of a newborn boy who was discovered dead in a trash container in San Bernardino County on Monday.

According to police, a woman located the infant in the back of an apartment building in Fontana. The boy was found inside a backpack and still had his umbilical cord attached.

An autopsy was to be conducted on the boy to determine a cause of death.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Search for Missing Crescent City Woman Continues

Police continue to look for a missing 23-year-old woman whose car was found burned and abandoned last week.

Michelle Dickson of Crescent City went missing late last Tuesday, and authorities believe foul play may be involved. Her car was found burned out on U.S. Highway 101 south of Crescent City, a town about 20 miles south of the Oregon border.

A person of interest has been interviewed by police, but reportedly has not been very cooperative in their investigation. Authorities have reportedly used a subpoena to obtain Dickson's phone and text messages.

Dickson works at the Ship Ashore Resort restaurant in Smith River. She reportedly had a second job and was attending the College of the Redwoods.

Dickson is 5' 4", with brown hair and brown eyes, weighing approximately 120 pounds. She was reportedly last seen wearing a white or dark-colored sweatshirt, white or blue-colored sweatpants and sherpa shoes.

Anyone who believes they have information to help solve the case can call the Del Norte County Sheriff's Department at (707) 464-4191.

PETA Goes Fishing for Support in San Diego

Now this is no fish story.

Members of PETA showed up in downtown San Diego today wearing just about nothing. Their reason for the lack of clothing? To protest commercial fishing and those who consume fish.

The members 'dressed' in silver body paint to appear like sparkling creatures from the sea. The protestors then threw a net over themselves and lay on the ground with a sign next to them reading "Scale Back Cruelty: Stop Fishing".

Editor's Take: We suggest maybe another type of net should have been placed over them. You know, the kind they put over crazy people.... We're all for treating animals with as much kindness, etc. as possible. However, at the end of the day, everyone has a right to a piece of fish or a nice, juicy slab of steak. And if you are in a real party mood, we say order some fish as appetizers before you down that steak. Eat on friends!

Los Angeles, OC Car Washes Targeted in Sweep

Officials with the State Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (Labor Commissioners Office) issued 47 citations totaling $356,200 in fines to car wash businesses in Los Angeles and Orange counties as part of an ongoing effort to address illegal operations in the underground economy. As part of the recent two-day enforcement sweep, investigators visited 64 carwashes in Los Angeles County and eight in Orange County.

Thirteen investigators conducted the sweeps of 72 carwashes and reportedly found that 24 businesses were cited for not having the required registration and 19 businesses failed to have workers compensation insurance.

In addition, three businesses were found to be employing minors without the proper work permits and one business failed to provide itemized deductions to their employees.

As part of an ongoing effort to gain compliance, lawsuits have been filed targeting carwashes that continue to ignore the state law requiring annual carwash registration. These lawsuits can lead to the closure of carwashes that refuse to come into compliance and register with the state.

San Diego Teen Found Dead in San Luis Rey River

Authorities continue to investigate the death of a San Diego teen who was found dead in the San Luis Rey River over the weekend.

Jaymie Rose Darrow, 19, a graduate of Poway High School, was found floating lifeless in the river at a remote campground close to Palomar Mountain. Authorities said her body was discovered around 7:15 p.m. Saturday.

An autopsy was planned for Sunday for Darrow, who was reportedly a student at UC Santa Barbara.

Fugitive Mom Charged in Mich. Prison Escape

The news for Susan LeFevre got a little bit worse on Monday.

The former Carmel Valley resident, who was arrested 32 years after fleeing a Michigan prison on a drug conviction, was charged today by Michigan authorities with escape.

LeFevre, 53, who is already back in Michigan serving at least 5 1/2 years of her remaining sentence for selling heroin, couldd receive another five years behind bars or probation if convicted of the escape charge.

LeFevre, who is married and the mother of three, had served approximately one year of a 10- to 20-year sentence before walking out of jail in 1976.

She assumed a new identity, Marie Walsh, in San Diego and raised a family, before someone turned her in to authorities earlier this year.

Wedding Reception Gets A Little Out of Hand

Talk about a wedding for the ages.

A wedding reception fight in Ventura over the weekend involving more than 100 attendees reportedly has left three men facing charges and the groom's mother with a knife wound.

Authorities report that several individuals were fighting when officers arrived at the Knights of Columbus Hall late Saturday evening.

When all was said and done, Delphina Hernandez, 52, had to go to the hospital with a knife wound to her face. Several police officers also reportedly suffered scrapes and bruises.

Joe Martinez, 34, of Santa Paula; and Jonathan Sanchez, 19, and Max Ledesma, 18, both of Ventura were arrested at the scene. No word on if alcohol played a role in the fight.

Attorney General Obtains Restitution for Renters

California Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. announced a $150,000 settlement for aspiring homeowners who had their entire down payments unlawfully seized by Lease2OwnHomes for missing rent on a lease-to-own agreement.

Under California law, if a renter misses a monthly payment in a lease-to-own program, the landlord may only seek eviction and unpaid rent. In this case, the landlord reportedly unlawfully seized the entire down payment for the purchase of the home in addition to seeking the eviction and unpaid rent. In April, the attorney general sued the company in Sacramento County Superior Court, for allegedly violating section 17500 of the Business and Professions Code, by:

* Providing a lease and option to purchase agreement when the company knew that consumers were not financially capable of meeting monthly payments required to successfully purchase a home. The company also sometimes ignored its own $70,000 minimum annual income requirement for consumers participating in the program

* Falsely claiming that consumers would have time to clean up any bad credit before purchasing their Lease2OwnHome

* Falsely claiming a “Over 96% Success Rate” in helping consumers purchase homes, when virtually no one was able to purchase a home as they described

Lease2OwnHomes reportedly knew that many of the renters who signed up for homeownership would never be able to afford the monthly payments. In one case, Lease2OwnHomes reportedly sold a large house in Stockton to a divorced mother of four who was unemployed and attending school part time. After the woman missed a $1,650 monthly payment, the landlord seized her entire $9,000 deposit on the house in addition to seeking eviction.

The company reportedly told consumers that “Bad credit is OK because you will have time to clean up any credit issues like bankruptcy, chargeoffs, low credit scores, and foreclosures before purchasing your Lease2OwnHome.” The company also reportedly promised to assist with credit repair although the company was not properly registered as a credit repair company.

The attorney general is currently aware of at least 75 renters in Sacramento and San Joaquin County who signed up for the program. Company president Quentin Hazell, reportedly claimed to work exclusively with the market of “untapped future home buyers” who were within a year or two of purchasing homes but who needed “extra time to get financing in place, improve credit or save for a larger down payment.”

Under the settlement approved by the Sacramento Superior Court, the company must pay $300,000 in civil penalties if they do not provide consumers with $150,000 in refunds for the down payments they seized.

Consumers who have filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office or who file a complaint on or before Sept. 15, 2008 may be eligible for a partial refund. Consumers should file a complaint in writing to the Attorney General’s Office Public Inquiry Unit, PO Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550 or send an online complaint to

Sunday, July 20, 2008

San Diego Harbor Police Shooting Leaves 1 Dead

A man was fatally shot late Saturday by San Diego Harbor Police after he reportedly fought with officers who had just plucked him from the water.

According to authorities, Harbor Police answered a call from a boat that had been chartered for a gay pride cruise. The call claimed that a man had gone overboard just before midnight. Harbor Police reportedly found the man in water about 500 feet from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station.

Steven Paul Hirschfield, 37, was rescued and put aboard a patrol boat, when he reportedly began fighting with officers. After reportedly grabbing a stun gun from one officer and hitting him in the face with it, another officer opened fire, killing Hirschfield, who is reportedly from Los Angeles.

An autopsy for Hirschfield is slated for Monday.

Measure Regarding Prostitution Qualifies for Ballot

The California ballot will certainly be full this November.

In San Francisco, a measure that looks to prevent prostitutes from facing criminal charges will be on the ballot after getting the necessary support recently. The Erotic Service Providers Union came up with enough signatures to make it on the ballot.

The measure would prohibit authorities from spending financial resources to investigate or prosecute prostitutes for taking part in the world's oldest profession.

A first-time offender program that permits men to escape charges for soliciting a prostitute if they attend a class and pay a fine would also cease under the measure.

Mayor Gavin Newsom claims the measure would impede the city's ability to investigate and prosecute sex-trafficking crimes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gays Try to Turn Away Business at San Diego Hotel

People on both sides of the gay marriage rights issue turned out in downtown San Diego on Friday during a rally against the owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Owner Doug Manchester made a $125,000 contribution to support the Prop 8 measure on this November's ballot. That measure would make it only legal for men and women to marry in California. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that gay couples could legally marry in the state, which they began doing last month.

Gay and lesbian activists picketed in front of the hotel Friday afternoon, claiming Manchester and his hotel are not friendly to gays. On the flip side, a hotel spokesperson says the establishment is friendly to gays.

Supporters of Manchester's were also on hand to demonstrate their point of view.

Prop 8 garnered enough support and survived an attempt by gays to have it removed from the ballot, therefore letting California voters decide this fall.